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though we have seen before that he considers “the liberty of the press as virtually destroyed,” yet by his zealous prosecution of literary inquiries he does not appear to be carried the whole length of his correspondent, whose genius, wild and luxuriant as we have always deemed it, seems to have been utterly cramped and incarcerated by the malignant genius of the government. “These studies are really in their infancy, and will continue so till better forms of government leave the human race at large more leisure to cultivate their intellects!” Letter 14. We should have been glad to see the form of government which would have left the feverish, restless spirit of Mr. Wakefield more leisure to pursue - his studies, except one indeed, which would have condemned him to perpetual blisters and phlebotomy. But not to weary our readers any more with these senseless hyperboles, which from Mr. Wakefield make us smile, but coming from Mr. Fox deserve a still severer treatment; we shall once for all offer a few concluding observations on the use of that figure of speech so common, and apparently so necessary to violent reformists. 1. By proving so much wrong and representing so many abuses in the constitution of the country, they seem to exclude the hope of doing any thing; they dissuade from the attempt at a moderate reform, and seem to threaten nothing short of a total subversion to the quiet citizen, who might otherwise give his voice for moving a few stones in the building for the better. They, in fact, plunge us into all the remediless filth of the Augean stables, and then tell us to begin sweeping for our life.-2. Such kind of assertions are easily refuted, and therefore lose all authority with common men, who when they have disproved one count in the indictment, are apt to dismiss the charge as frivolous and vexatious altogether. The liberty of the press is not either actually or virtually destroyed. Sixteen years after that foolish assertion was made, the press teems with the most odious libels on every thing great, and almost every thing good. Socinians have just obtained liberty to publish their trash; and scarcely a check is given to the expression of the most licentious passions of men political and religious, but that antidote to most moral poison,its native folly and inherent insipidity. The same may be said of the other rhetorical extravagances of abuse contained in these letters, 73.1
- These modes of speech greatly tend to invalidate the character of those who use them; and shew them to be under the influence either of passion, prejudice, or the sinister motives of interesterShould it ever have been suggested, and it has been frequently so, that Mr. Fox's grand aim was power, and that he made use of the name and courted the good will of the people only to
regret increase our chagrin when it supposes the picture reversed when it imagines the former character drawing from the - resources of his own great mind alone, those resolutions and plans of actions which might have made him the reformer and guide, instead of being the dupe and the tool, of a weak but domineering party: and to have seen the other throwing up those reins of proud independence, which every stage of life proved him less and less fit to hold; and under the prudent guidance of some experienced director of his course illuminating with his rays that world, which he had well nigh set on fire like Phaeton, by his presumptuous indiscretion. * Again we see, with some mixture of pleasing emotion, an apparent frankness, sincerity, and warmth of feeling on the part of Mr. Wakefield, which we in vain looked for in the expressions. of his correspondent. Mr. Fox, guarded, shrewd, and self-possessed, like a true man of the world, discerning the strong and weak points of the other, adapting himself to them, and evidently as contented with the easy enjoyment of a literary correspondence with his friend in gaol as with his friend at home-Mr. Fox, we must say, seems to us to have wanted, or to have worn away many of those noble and tender sensibilities, of which the undue and unrestrained indulgence so much misled Mr. Wakefield; but which, in misleading him, made him no less an object of pity to the feeling, and regret to the reflecting, than one of caution to the wise, and of terror to the peaceful. sw In both characters we see instayced the lamentable operation of false or defective principles. We see these two men, confessedly in one of the most important crises which their country had ever experienced, more intent on settling the final y and the Æolic digamma, or the precedence of Ovid and Virgil, than on those portentous events which, in public, they represented as involving every thing important to the highest interests of man. In Mr. Fox's correspondence we see little or ng zeal expressed for right opinions on the constitution of that country of whose cause he was the patriotic defender; in that of Mr. Wakefield's letters we perceive as little attention to the cause of a religion of which he professed himself at once the preacher and reformner. They had evidently much to learn on these points, each respectively of the other. Though it was the misfortune, for rather fault, of both to believe but little, yet each believed something in his peculiar province which we have reason to fear was not admitted by the othert Mr. Foxit is true did not systematically scoff at revela tion, (he was too wise), nor did Mr. Wakefield openly proclaim anarchy and regicide, he was too decent : yet had each used the opportunity he possessed for the improvement of the other,
VOL. Y. NO. IX.
we might have been relieved from many apprehensions as to what were really the views of both : and some proofs, let us indulge the hope, might have been added, to the very few hitherto produced by their respective friends, of the social virtue of a Wakefield, and the Christian belief of a Fox.
ART. XII.-Suggestions to the Promoters of Dr. Bell's System of Tuition ; with an Account of the Hampshire Society for the Education of the Poor. The Proceedings of the different
diocesan and district Institutions already formed ; a general h List of Schools, and the Number of Children now receiving In
struction on the new Plan, in the Principles of the established Church. By the Rev. Frederick Iremonger, M.A. F.L.S. one of the Secretaries of the Hampshire Society. Printed for W. Jacob, Winchester; and Longman and Co, London. 1813.
We are inclined sometimes to envy those who are living witnesses of any event which has had a striking influence on the moral history of man. We fancy that an epoch thus marked must have produced a strong and universal interest; and that an extraordinary share of excitement, the game we are most of us in quest of, must have fallen to the lot of the spectators of so important a scene in the great drama. Our own experience might teach us better. The fact is, that we see in the gross, with all its leading features strongly brought out, what they saw in detail, and with a natural attention to minutiæ, "which
escape our notice. We are at a better distance from the picture for effect. It is only on this principle that we can account for the apathy which prevails among so large a portion of our countrymen on a subject in which posterity will think that the whole nation must, at this period, have taken a lively interest - the general diffusion of the benefits of education by the introduction of a system admirably calculated to facilitate its process.
lavora con noted It will be said, perhaps, that this is an unjustifiable reflection on a nation, in all parts of which societies are forming, and plans are in agitation, for the establishment of schools. The respectable list of subscribers to the national society instituted for this purpose' may also be quoted against us. But it must be remembered, that those who have caught what may well be called “ the sacred flame” of zeal in this cause, attract notice from being in motion, while the listless stillness of the quiescents causes their number to be overlooked. We can only form a judgment on this matter by being allotted to encounter the prejudices, the lack of information, and the vis inertiæ that are to be overcome in stirring up a distriet to an active promotion of this great work.
We are happy to admit, however, that there are many honourable exceptions to this rule; many, who, like the author of the volume now before us, have put their hands vigorously and steadily to that mental plough, which will soon, we trust, bring all the wild and waste intellect of the island into a state of cultivation. May good seed be scattered in its track, and the blessing of the Lord of the harvest bring it to perfection! It is impossible to calculate the precise effect of this sudden and simultaneous exertion on behalf of the lower orders of society, but its obvious tendency is to promote their genuine and legitimate elevation; an elevation very different from that which characterized the mania, or masked the frauds, of the Panisocratists. On their plan the underwood was to have been brought into notice, not by the rapidity and luxuriance of its own growth, but by the downfall of the stately oaks of the forest. But
Great Britain had the melancholy advantage of seeing a trial of their dread experiment, and the awful lesson was not lost upon her. Warned by the mad and disgusting excesses of the helots of a neighbouring republic, we dashed from our lips the intoxicating cap, which they drank to the very dregs. We, in our turn, are now exhibiting an experiment, the object of which is the moral and intellectual elevation of the lower orders; and its results, we trust, will be of a far different nature. From the high rank which Britain holds among the nations, and the consequent influence of her example, its success may be regarded as the concern of the whole world. It is evident, therefore, that too much attention cannot be paid to the mode in which it is conducted; and we hail with pleasure every judicious attempt to throw new light upon the subject. Among these Mr. Iremonger's “Suggestions” claim a very conspicuous place, both from the abundance and the importance of the matter contained in them ; of which we shall proceed to give some account.
We have before borne our testimony, such as it is, to the importance of the improved system of education introduced into this kingdom by Dr. Bell, the characteristic features of which are the production of great effects from small means, the economy both of time and money, and the tendency to promote habits